A young child’s toothache generates the demand that Mummy should make it better. But Mummy cannot fix teeth and a trip to the dentist must be arranged. That will also be the outcome with the surge in energy costs and the accompanying threat to the security of energy supplies.

It is not open to the Irish Government to conjure up remedies without cost. Energy just got more expensive, it is mainly imported and the State cannot unilaterally make it cheaper. Excise duty reductions can ameliorate the burden for some, as can grants to hauliers and credits on electricity bills, but at the cost of higher Exchequer debt, even where the interventions are time-limited. If permanent, the debt burden rises more and faster. To date, once-off grants and temporary tax discounts which run out in August will add most of a billion to the deficit for 2022.